Realities of Race Seminar

Social Concerns Seminar

This seminar will take a close look at the realities of race in the United States in the 21st century. We will enter this conversation through the stories of recent events in this country built upon the foundational understanding that racism continues to pervade society (examples: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, LA Clippers, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Black Lives Matter, Charleston AME shooting, University of Missouri, Bree Newsome, etc.). Acknowledging the complexity of these stories and the many facets they represent, we will establish a space where honest and respectful dialogue can happen. Using Catholic Social Tradition as a foundational lens, we will look at the current racial landscape through a multicultural (not only Black/White) lens that builds a reflection-oriented community of trust, respect, and vulnerability. Approximately 15 students will participate in this seminar which will meet seven times on campus and spend most of Spring Break in Ferguson, MO., St. Louis, MO., and Chicago, IL.  

The classes before immersion will seek honest dialogue and learning about the complexities of race with regard to systemic racism/oppression, history, faith tradition, current events, as well as lived experiences of racism and privilege. While on immersion, we partner with the Karen House Catholic Worker community in St. Louis and with Su Casa Catholic Worker in Chicago.  Entering into these communities with humility and a willingness to learn, we will hear stories, learn from movements, engage our own racial identity, and ask questions. Understanding this to be complex and connected to historical and present harm, we will seek to navigate a way forward for ourselves and the communities in which we habitate. We will take a focused look at how racial realities play out at Notre Dame and in the South Bend community.

"Realities of Race has been, by far, my most meaningful experience during my first year at Notre Dame. While I learned a great deal from each article that we read, I learned the most from the thoughtful reflections we had each night, where we unpacked everything that we had experienced that day, and from hours-long in-car discussions, where I really got to know my fellow RoR classmates. This seminar has changed how I view race in our society, and it has motivated me to truly get involved in the communities of which I am a part."

— Ellanor Patton, Realities of Race, Spring 2018

Class Dates: TBD

Immersion Dates: Saturday, March 9–Saturday, March 16, 2019

$300 charged to your student account upon completion of the seminar (financial assistance available based on need)
Application Process: 
  • Application process consists of two parts: (1) Completed application (application will be available mid-November) and (2) Interviews (you will be notified about interviews via email)
  • You cannot register for the seminar until you receive registration information from Seminars staff.
  • Notification of seminar placement will happen after final application deadline.
  • If you are not selected for participation in your first choice of seminars, you will be given the opportunity to participate in another seminar if there is still availability.
  • No admittance into the seminar after the first class (see seminar calendar of events)
  • By submitting the application, you confirm you are in good academic standing.
  • With questions about your application, email
  • Application will be available in early November, 2018, and the deadline is January 16, 2019.
Associated Term: